The Argentine insists he will only start thinking about los Rojiblancos being crowned champions of Spain if they are still in contention with five games to go
There are those that believe that los Rojiblancos can break up the Barcelona-Real Madrid duoplay in Spain, with the Copa del Rey winners currently sitting only four points behind the Catalans with a game in hand.
However, Simeone insisted they have a long way to go before they can be considered potential champions, admitting that their mounting injury problems are a serious cause for concern given their congested fixture list.
"I'll only say we're title contenders when there are five games left," the 43-year-old Argentine told reporters. "It’s hard. We’re putting in a huge effort. To keep on winning and winning is hard.
"Sunday’s game is a tough game and we’ll need the support from the stands. We hope that, with a greater effort than we’re used to, we’ll be up to the challenge because they’re strong opponents.
"We need players to be at their best. What’s important is that players are fully recovered when they return. If they’re carrying a knock, they can’t play to their best.
"I have doubts in midfield and the attack [for Athletic]. I hope to find solutions in the coming hours.”
Arda Turan and Mario Suarez are ruled out for the clash at Vicente Calderon, while Filipe is suspended after receiving his marching orders at Granada.